tv PBS News Hour PBS December 9, 2010 10:00pm-11:00pm PST
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> lehrer: good evening. i'm jim lehrer. the house democratic caucus voted to reject the tax cut deal. speaker pelosi said her party will work with the president and republicans to change it. >> warner: and i'm margaret warner. on the newshour tonight, we look at what's next for the agreement, and ask outgoing senators evan bayh and bob bennett about the art of compromise. >> lehrer: then, we update the post-election violence in haiti as officials say they'll verify the vote totals. >> warner: special correspondent
dave iverson has the story of the therapeutic power of dance for parkinson's patients. >> many people with parkinson's feel like they are outside of the human experience and dance is a huge part of the human experience. so to come in and dance, you're human again. >> lehrer: judy woodruff interviews the u.s. surgeon- general about a new study on the health damage from even small amounts of cigarette smoke. >> warner: and with the holday shopping season underway, jeffrey brown talks to technology reporter david pogue about our obsession with gadgets and gizmos. >> people associate so heavily with their gadgets that if you insult the gadget its, you get hate mail as though you insulted them. >> lehrer: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> well, the best companies are driven by new ideas. >> our history depends on new
ideas. we spend billions on advanced technologies. >> it's all about investing in the future. >> we can find new energy-- more cleaner, safer and smarter. >> collaborating with the best in the field. >> chevron works with the smartest people at leading universities and tech companies. >> and yet, it's really basic. >> it's paying off everyday. >> this is the engine that connects abundant grain from the american heartland to haran's best selling whole wheat, while keeping 60 billion pounds of carbon out of thetmosphere everyear. bnsf, the engine that connects us. bank of america-- committed to helping the nation's economic recovery. that's health in numbers. united healthcare. intel. sponsors of tomorrow.
and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> lehrer: the president's push to pass the tax cut deal ran into a roadblock today, at least temporarily. house democrats balked at bringing up the bill in its current form. after a voice vote behind closed doors, democrats trooped out to say they overwhelmingly opposed bringing the tax cut deal to the house floor. >> in the form it was negotiated, it is not acceptable to the house democratic caucus.
it's as simple as that. >> lehrer: the anger was focused mainly on two provisions in the package: one was a two-year extension of the bush-era tax breaks, even for the wealthy. the other was a top rate of 35% on a new estate tax, well below what democrats wanted. even a visit from vice-president biden last night failed to sway opponents of the plan, including lloyd doggett of texas. >> we were told yesterday by the vice-president this was a "take it or leave it" deal. we're saying, "leave it." >> lehrer: in a statement, outgoing speaker nancy pelosi said the caucus believes the agreement must be changed. she said, "we will continue discussions with the president and our democratic and republican colleagues in the days ahead to improve the proposal before it comes to the house floor for a vote." before the caucus action, the tax cut package had appeared to be gathering momentum. earlier in the day, house majority leader steny hoyer
suggested democrats would have little choice but to vote for the package in the end. he spoke on msnbc. >> the president obviously made a judgment. we're going to have to determine whether we're going to make a similar judgment as to whether or not putting the economy at risk, and putting millions of americans at risk and their homes and their families in surviving, or whether or not we're going to play a game of political chicken. >> lehrer: the prospects for a deal appeared more promising in the senate, where majority leader harry reid announced action could come soon. >> let's assume that i brought this to the floor and immediately filed cloture on it, and it would be a saturday cloture vote. we'll see what we can do to make sure that people feel they've had opportunity to look at the legislation and to make a considered decision on what to be done with tir vote on ts very, very important legislation. >> lehrer: for his part, president obama warned again that failing to act will hurt
the economy. he spoke before the house democrats' vote. >> every economist that i've talked to or that i've read over the last couple of days acknowledges that this agreement would boost economic growth in the coming years and has the potential to create millions of jobs. but if this framework fails, the reverse is true. americans would see it in smaller paychecks-- that would have the effect of fewer jobs. >> lehrer: republicans generally stayed on the sidelines today, leaving the president and his fellow democrats to fight it out. congresswoman ileana ros-lehtinen of florida. >> with this vote today, i don't really know what's going to happen. it's a big question mark. and i always say that's a great thing about a democracy is that we don't know what's going to happen. >> lehrer: white house officials said today that, despite the house democrats' anger, they still expect the tax cut package to win approval.
>> warner: coming up, we look at the tax cut debate and more with senators bayh and bennett. plus, the post-election unrest in haiti; music and motion for parkinson's patients; the dangers of even a little tobacco smoke; and consumers and their gadgets. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan in our newsroom. >> sreenivasan: senate democrats failed in a bid to repeal the ban on gays serving openly in the military. they got 57 votes, but needed three more to force action. most republicans opposed repeal outright. they also said they would block action on everything until congress funds the government and approves the tax cut package. it was a day of street battles in london as furious protesters raged against tripling the cost of university tuition. the house of commons approved the increase as part of government austerity plans. we have a report from neil connery of independent television news.
>> reporter: for the students this was their last chance, thousands took to london's streets as the final countdown to the vote on tuition fees particulared away. >> we are annoyed about this new legislation because it puts-- its puts people off going to university. >> reporter: but it didn't take long before tensions started to rise leaving this policeman injured. >> reporter: with west bhin ster firmly in their sights these students are determined to make their voices heard. but given the trouble of previous demonstrations, the police are also out in force determined to make sure the demonstration doesn't spiral out of control. but the anger of some has now reached boiling point. flares and other missiles were thrown at the police. as the afternoon wore on mounted officers charged part of the crowd as they tried to keep order.
>> out of the way! >> both sides suffered injuries as the clashes continued. when the vote came through, the reaction was clear. mps may have voted but in the streets around westminster this evening the anger of many shows little sign of abating. >> sreenivasan: at one point, the protesters attacked a car carrying prince charles and his wife camilla. they were unharmed. there were new skirmishes today in the cyber-war over wikileaks. supporters of the web site threatened online payment service paypal again for cutting off financial access to wikileaks. they had already attacked mastercard and visa. meanwhile, attorney general eric holder said officials are looking into the cyber-attacks. he is already investigating wikileaks for releasing thousands of secret u.s. government documents. in afghanistan, insurgents killed a nato soldier in the south, the 13th so far this month. there was no immediate word on
the victim's nationality. meanwhile in iraq, the u.s. military announced an american soldier was killed wednesday. wall street had a quiet day, as the stock market waited to see what congress will do on taxes. the dow jones industrial average lost two points to close at 11,370. the nasdaq rose seven points to close at 2,616. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jim. >> lehrer: and to a few words about "compromise," the common verb of action and reaction in the congress of the united states, highlighted dramatically right now by the struggle over tax cuts. the words come from president obama at his tuesday news conference. "this country was founded on compromise, he said. and they come tonight from two outgoing senators-- democrat evan bayh of indiana and republican bob bennett of utah. both have had to deal with political consequences from thr belief in compromise, and they join us now from the capitol building. senators, welcome. >> thank you, jim.
>> lehrer: senator bayh, do you agree with the president that without compromise there wouldn't even be a united states of america? >> well, there's no question about it, jim. from a historical perspective. the constitutional convention was pretty heated. the small states and the large states didn't get along. the agrarrian states and the more commercial states and you had the whole issue of slavery which was extraordinarily diadvicive. we almost had 13 separate countries let alone one. so compromise was there at the inception of our nation. and it's necessary if we're going to meet the challenges that we confront today to keep america strong. >> lehrer: do agree with that, senator bennett, that it's necessary for there to continue to be compromise? >> well, of course. because there is no exclusive source of truth and wisdom in either party. and within both parties there are compromises that have to be made. right now you've got a fight going on within the democratic party between the president and some members, maybe a majority of the house democrats.
and if they're going it to come up with something that they can defend in the next election or explain to the people in the next congress, they're going to have to compromise within their own ranks. so certainly compromise, finding an answer, finding a solution that works is something that everybody has to do within your own party or across the aisle. >> lehrer: senator bayh you woke in a "new york times" essay a few months ago under the headline, why i'm leaving the senate. and you said, quote, the most ideaologically devoted elements in both parties, following up here again on what senator bennett just said, both parties must accept that not every compromise is a sign or an indication of more all las i tude why must they-- las tude, why must they accept that? >> well, many people in the basis-- bases of both parties take an all or nothing approach. and the irony is that that very often leads to nothing. i mean people in our caucus stand up and they want to
fight. i assume people in bob's caucus say the same thing. and i admire that passion and devotion of principles. but if you just insist on everything it leads to nothing. and the american people are yearning for progress. and what they can't understand is if we can get 50% of what's good for america, why don't we do that and then come back and work the other 50%. this all or nothing approach just is not delivering the kind of results. so it is the extremes, the bases in both parties are out of touch with the broad middle, its moderates, the independents that constitute a majority ldz do agree with that, the extremes of the left and right in each parties are out of touch with what the majority of the american people believe and want right now? >> i don't think there's any question about it. the american people in 2008 desperately wanted change. but this is a center right country. they did not want a strong lurch to the left or a strong lurch to the right. when they didn't get the kind of change they wanted in 2008, they voted for
change again in 2010. but if you look at the poll information, it's very clear. it's not the extremes that control those elections, it was the independent voters in the middle who said in 2008 we don't like what we got from bush, let's trio bama. now they're saying we didn't like what we got from obama, let's try the republicans. but in neither case are they saying let's go to the extremes of either party. and people have got to get along in the middle. >> lehrer: but senator bayh, words like betrayal are used, they were used against senator bennett by his own fellow republicans in utah during a convention. the word, and it's used by most people, not most people but many people who have taken a principlesed position and then when they go do a compromise, how do you respond to that, to somebody who says come on, you don't need to compromise. just hang in there. >> what people want, jim, is progress. they care about practical solutions more than
ideaological labels or party labels. and i have regularly used the example of my friend bob ben wheat is a good conservative. he's a conservative individual through and through and yet for some people that was not enough. but my guess is, and he's more of an expert on this than i am, if he had been put up for a vote to the people of utah or to the republicans at large in utah we have won. but because they had a caucus process which is a lot smaller slice of that party, he was not successful, even though his potion would have represented what most people wanted. so it's the triumph of ideology and part tsangship over practical solutions. and that's why bob is right. the independents have been going back and forth in a constant search for what will move us forward. that's what people want. and the political process regrettably is not delivering enough of that. >> lehrer: but senator bennett, doesn't ideology have to drive politics in some way? >> well, certainly you need an ideology. you do not want to address the political question without some kind of point of view.
and at some point you draw the line and say i won't cross this but let me tell you a qij store-- quick story. i was being interviewed in 1976 for a job with ronald reagan. si did not know ronald reagan. i knew him only by reputation. and frankly, on that reputation i thought he was something of an idealogue that i could not work with with. as the interview went forward and i went just out of court see to the fellow who set it up, it became clear that it was going very well and i was going to get a job offer. so i finally said to the fellow, look, let me make one thing clear here. minot a true believer. and he looked at me and he said that's fine, neither is the governor. ronald reagan was the one who used to say, it's better to get 80% of what you want than 100% of nothing. but right now there are people in both parties who say we won't take 80%. we won't take 90%. we won't take 99%. you have to be absolutely true, pure believer in the
area of copper cents, he wrote a book about that, or we won't deal with with you. those are the kind of people that don't get anything done. those are the kind of people that opposed ratification of the constitution f you go all the way back to the founding fathers. and you cannot you cannot govern a country unless you can say all right, i will settle for 80% and work on the other 20% later. >> can i add one thing here, jim. >> lehrer: sure. >> this kind of gridlock and polarization might have been okay, it was never ideal, but it might have been okay in a world in which america dominated the glob militarily and economically. but we have gathering challenges now. that only compound with the passage of time when we don't meet them so we no longer have the luxury of being this entlol-- enthralled with our own extremism politically. because china is moving forward. india is moving forward. the rest of the world is moving forward so this inaction really threatens america's future. and that's why it's so important that we begin to think like americans first.
bob is a republican, i'm a democrat. when i look at bob bennett i first of all see an american and a friend. we have to start getting back to that way of thinking because as a civil rights leader once said, we may have arrived on these shores in different ships but we're all in the same boat now and we fwheed to start acting that way. >> lehrer: you, senator bayh chose not to run for re-election, you senator bennett were defeated in renomination contest in your state so both of you are leaving. what does that say about the state of affairs? >> well, first i want to make it clear that the cemeteries are filled with the graves of irreplacable men. and the republic will survive without either one of us. survive a little less without evan than with me. but i think the american spirit is still strong enough that it will triumph and that the people who are going to be in the 112th congress, after some of them have postured a little bit l come around and say all right this is what we have
to do. frankly, i'm hoping that's what happens on this tax deal. >> lehrer: are you going to vote for that. have you decided. >> yeah. >> lehrer: are you going to vote for it, senator bennett. absolutely it not everything i wuld want, but it is certainly better than the alternative. >> lehrer: senator bayh, are you going to vote for it. >> absolutely, jim. the alternative is to allow the taxes of every american to go up in january 1st at a time when ben bernanke the chairman of the federal reserve is really worried about the state of the economy. it would be terrible economics. and we would be fighting it out here, those who have taken our places in february, march, april. and unknown risk. it just would be deeply irresponsible so here is a perfect example where no one is going to agree with everything in there. but the alternative of doing nothing, and burdening the economy with these tax increases not just for the wealthy but for everyone, would be deeply irresponsible. >> lehrer: all right. we're going to leave it there. senators both, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> you bet.
>> warner: we turn to haiti, where disputes over the recent election took another twist today. protest fires were still smoldering in the streets of port-au-prince when the news came. election officials announced they'd retabulate the results from november's presidential election after allegations of sweeping fraud. "the new york times's" deborah sontag is on the ground in the haitian capital. >> reporter: the statement said they are doing it out of their obligation to hold credible and transparent elections, and the statement acknowledged there was a kind of widespread repudiation of the results that they announced. >> warner: that repudiation erupted wednesday when thousands of angry haitians paralyzed parts of the city.
they burned tires and buildings, including the ruling party headquarters, and clashed with local police and u.n. peacekeepers, who fired tear gas in response. the crowds claimed their candidate, popular singer michel martelly, had been cheated out of a spot in the january runoff. instead, the official results announced tuesday night had former haitian first lady mirlande manigat and the government-backed candidate, jude celestin, as the top first round vote-getters, with martelly a close third. >> ( translated ): this is a shame. the people came out to vote for michel martelly. the government is an embarrassment to us. it is not acceptable. >> warner: last night, martelly urged supporters to shun violence, and president rene preval made a similar appeal. >> ( translated ): stop damaging public and private buildings, stop attacking the people. i know we have an electoral crisis, but don't forget we also gave a cholera epidemic, and every day, ambulances must go and pick up the sick people.
and those barricades are going to kill more people. >> warner: by today, protesters were still building barricades, but a tense calm prevailed. >> reporter: the city still feels very ghostly, people are still mostly shut in their homes. but there are pockets of tires set on fire, some right around the election board, there are still people protesting and jostling each other and making trouble. >> warner: the november 28 elections were marred by disorganization and claims of ballot-stuffing, voter intimidation, and unauthorized voting. u.n. peacekeepers and outside observers initially said the problems weren't serious enough to invalidate the vote. >> reporter: there is a lot of anger directed toward the u.n. troops that are here, and there is a feeling that the election observers that came in from the
organization of american states and the caribbean community w we quick to support the electoral process, despite the serious irregularities. >> warner: the united states has since criticized the results, and in recent days, u.n. secretary-general ban ki-moon expressed concern. the political turmoil comes as haiti is still struggling to recover from the january earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people, and left one million homeless. and the ongoing cholera outbreak, which began in october, has killed more than 2,000 people. now, there are fears of what may be yet to come. >> reporter: there is a feeling that haiti is in a very fragile moment, and on the edge, and that it would be extremely easy for one incident to turn things. >> warner: for now at least, the runoff is set for january 16. there was no word today on how long the newly announced review will take. for more, we go to joel
dreyfuss, managing editor of theroot.com, a news web site that covers issues related to black culture. he was born in haiti and is now an american citizen. mr. dreyfuss, welcome back. >> thank you. >> warner: you've been talking and listening to what is being happening in haiti, what is the reaction to the news. >> there is a lot of skepticism. i was listening to haitian radio talk shows this afternoon. and people are saying well, how you can expect the election commission to fix things when they were the cause of the problem to begin with. there's also the sense that the president engineered this runoff to make sure that one his own party members ends up running, you know, running and possibly winning the election. >> warner: have you been able to determine, because there are conflicting reports on this, whether they are really going to recount every vote or whether they are simply reviewing the tally sheets from the precincts. >> well, what they've said now is that they are going to invite the three top vote-getters.
to observe the recount of the tally sheets. so these are sheets where they've taken votes in various precincts around the country and added them up and written down the total. so i'm not sure that's really going to satisfy anybody, you know, very much. except that you know there's always the possibility that the recount could give a different result because it would be the dince between the second and third candidate was less than half a percent. >> warner: now the commission or electoral council in its statement today fully acknowledged that the protests had something to do with it. so take us back to tuesday night when they announced these results. why was there such an immediate outcry in the streets? >> i think that there was, there were rumors and stories going around for days. you know, the election was a week ago sunday so this was like a nine day period for the vote count. there were rumors and a lot of news reports that predicted that martelli, this musician and
mrs. maniga. >> warner: the former first lady. >> would be the final candidates if in the runoff so there was actually surprise because preval has really disappointed haitians in his failure toological manage the crisis after the earthquake. and the feeling was that his, they didn't want to have anything to do with his man, you know, and his party. >> warner: the one who was said to come in second. >> was said to come in second. so there was surprise that he came in second and that surprise immediately turned to suspicion. and people took to the streets that night. barricades, protests and of course, martelli himself did not help the situation because he was outraged. and he told his supporters that he would not give up. and we challenge the results. >> warner: tell us a little about this rap singer turned politician. he didn't look like a rap singer there in his suit. what is the source of his appeal. >> wes's not actually a lap singer. he is-- in other words, he sings the basic haitian
popular music. he has been around for many, many years. he performs under the name of sweet mickey and he is known as kind of an outrage us on stage character. he has been known to pull his pants down or come on stage wearing a diaper or even cross dressing, wearing women's clothes on stage. and part of it, i think, is challenging the sort of very prudish morality, especially of the bourge what class in haiti. so he is seen as kind of a rebel and i think what happened with him is he became a symbol of change. they saw the other candidates as more of the same. people have been incredibly frustrated by what is happening in haiti. you have a million people living in tents and now any hope that people had of change was tied around the election. >> warner: so it was very much tied up, not just election results but the pent-up frustration after months and months and months. >> would we be in this country in the united states, would we be as well behaved if we had, you know, 10%6
our population, 20% of our population living on the streets. >> warner: let me ask you about the international communities. because it has been criticized. why did they go ahead with this vote when people people, even some of the candidates said in the chaotic situation they weren't ready for telephone. what role did the international community and donors play. >> the international community is of course worried about accountability for the money that they are promising to spend. as you know most of it has not reached haiti yet. the president's term was expiring. a much d a good part of the senate and the lower house and entire lower house in haiti there is two camera, two chamber parliament, pretty much like u.s. congress. many of them, theirerms were up. so the question became what is the legitimate government. preval's term was up. so i think there was a lot of pressure from donor countries to say you've got to put in a legitimate government. you've got to have elected officials that we can deal with and hold accountable. a lot of people in haiti
were saying how can you do this. you've got a million people on the street. tens of thousands of voters died in the earthquake. >> warner: yet their names are still on the rolls, other people's names aren't on the rolls, was there also a feeling that the international commity was too quick to say well, yeah, there were problems but good enough. >> even on the day of the election as people were observing there were some incidents of violence. there were stone-throwing, ballots being stolen. there were a lot of news reports that people, there were stuffed ballot boxes. the international observers for some reason kept saying yeah, it's not perfect but we think it's acceptable. it is a decent outcome and haitian human-rights groups from the very beginning were saying this is not going to work w you know, there's too much disorder, too much chaos taking place. >> warner: briefly before we go, how concerned are you that now we're going to have another unresolved interim period, however long this retabulation takes. but something could kick off much greater violence. >> well, what you are talking about is whether there would be massive
violence in haiti. it has not been part of the history of haiti. violence in haiti usually comes from the government, you know. we've had dictator ships that have killed off hundreds of people. but there is not a history of civil war, i mean not for more than 150 years so i think that the great hope is that things will calm down and some compromise will be found through the electoral process. >> warner: let's hope so, joel dreyfuss, thank you so much. >> thank you. >> lehrer: next, a unique program that brings together dancers and people living with parkinson's disease. special correspondent dave iverson tells the story. >> reporter: the mark morris dance center occupies a busy corner of brooklyn.
it's home to one the best known modern dance companies in the world, where the physical defines the art. but its also home to a different group of dancers, where the physical defines a disease-- parkinson's. >> our society tells us again and again that there are people who can dance, and there is everybody else, who shouldn't bother, and i think that's such a tragedy. >> reporter: david leventhal and john heginbotham have performed lead roles in some of the mark morris dance company's signature works. but they also teach some of those same moves to people with parkinson's, creating both a unique class and a special community. mary good was diagnosed with parkinson's two years ago. >> the world judges us by how we look, and people with parkinson's have really a look that people shy away from. >> is the class, then, a place where you're not judged?
>> that's right. that's actly right. >> it's one of those situations where everybody is in the same boat. >> reporter: class member joy esterberg has had parkinson's for seven years, but this class has given her something new. >> it's given me a community that you don't have in new york, for the most part. this community is like being in a small town. >> my impression is that many people with parkinson's feel like they are outside the human experience, and dance is a huge part of the human experience, and so to come in and dance, you are human again. >> reporter: at a meeting before the class begins, the cardinal symptoms of parkinson's are often apparent-- a hand that shakes, muscles that stiffen. but when class starts, something happens-- symptoms often seem to
slip away. class member reggie butts. >> when the dance class is goin on, there are no patients, there are dancers. >> reporter: its a phenomenon that neurologist dr. claire henchcliffe finds striking. >> it's fascinating to see people who may have walked in slowly and sat down slowly and stood up slowly, and then when the music comes on, they really get going. ♪ >> reporter: but it's not just the music and motion that's helpful. with parkinson's, everyday actions like stepping and reaching take greater focus and concentration, which is exactly what dance demands. >> you have to learn a complex series of steps, for example. >> i'm starting out with my
palms facing me, and i'm going to rotate my hands so my palms are facing down. >> there are pauses, there are turns, there are points where you go backwards, there are points where you mirror what your partner is doing. it has the physical components, but i think it also has a cognitive component. >> in dance class, the mind and body are constantly working together. dancing is the ultimate mind- body connection. >> reporter: dance requires mind and imagination, focus and physicality. so does living with parkinson's. it's grace that's hard won. >> to be in control of your own movement and making it pleasing to yourself is a wonderful thing. toss the flower petals. >> it's liberated a part of me,
created a sense of freedom, a sense of creativity. >> reporter: perhaps that's why this isn't a class people skip. reggie butts is here just out of the hospital. his wife bobbye never misses, either. >> the movement of butterflies and birds and throwing flowers. with dance, you soar. >> ...as they leave your fingers. >> its really like bliss, in a way, because there is no constraint. if it's physical, and you extend your arm, you have an ideal sense of what an extended arm looks like. it doesn't look like this, but if you try to do it, and in your mind's eye, you are feeling it and doing it utterly to the extent that you can imagine it, then you are there.
>> reporter: and when you're there, parkinson's isn't, at least not in the same way. which is why "dance for parkinson's," as it's officially known, is now stretching beyond its brooklyn borders. >> the best thing to plan around is one of our regular dance for p.d. classes. >> reporter: and david leventhal, who this year won a new york dance and performance award honoring his storied dance career, is leaving his performance life behind to devote all his te to dance for parkinson's. >> now, i spend a lot of the week on conference calls, which is something i never imagined. we have classes right now in about 14 states, from california to washington state to texas all the way down to florida. this class has given me a completely new and welcome understanding that movement is everybody's right, that we're all entitled to move, we're all entitled to dance in the most
natural free joyous way. ♪ >> reporter: joy. it's not a quality you associate often with parkinson's. and yet, it is what you see here-- people whose condition may limit how they move, but not their smile or spirit. >> we don't know yet how to measure that objectively, someone's sense of happiness, and how that affects their parkinson's. we don't know how to measure joy or happiness, but we should try. >> reporter: and if you could measure joy in this corner of brooklyn, you would also find that what you give, you receive, and that every bit of it is shared.
warns of health dangers from >> lehrer: now, the government warns of health dangers from even small amounts of cigarette smoke. judy woodruff has the story. >> woodruff: smoking rates in america have dropped dramatically over the past four decades. but despite repeated warnings about its deadly risks since a landmark report was issued in 1964, 40 million americans still smoke, many casually or occasionally. that included the president, until recently. his spokesman said today that he had not seen mr. obama light up in at least nine months. a new report issued by the surgeon general had a warning for the president and others about smoking even one cigarette. doctor regina benjamin is the surgeon general and she joins us now. thank you very much for coming out and talking with us. >> thank you for having me. >> so we've known for decades since that report in 1964 smoking is harmful what
new, what new information do we learn from this report. >> this report is the 30th surgeon general's report on tobacco. and the previous reports have talked about what by ceases and what illnesses are caused by tobacco. this particular report talks about how these things happen. how the diseases are, what they are caused by, how they are developed, how they affect you. the fact that you inhale or expose to the single tobacco smoke can affect you immediately. immediately affects your blood cells. it affects your blood vessels. and it is very harmful. the first breath you take of any inhaling any smoke. >> so those chemical changes in your body from the nicotine, the harmful substance. >> there are 7,000 chemicals or chemical compounds in the tobacco smoke. and when you inhale those
chemical compounds, they attack the lining of your blood vessels. makes your blood thicker and easier to clot. and if a clot happens in the brain it's a stroke. if it happens in your heart are it it's a heart attack and those things can be immediate. >> this notion of light exposure, you were essentially sang tay e puff, that's not really the main concern s it. isn't the main concern getting people who are heavy smokers to stop. >> any smoker. it doesn't matter if you are a smoker or if you just happen to be passing by and it's secondhand smoke. you can have the same effect it affects your blood vessels. it affects your, every cell in your body. it affects the dna. and so we now know that it really damages every cell. and so anyone, and there is no safe level of tobacco smoke. >> you are saying this really was not understood before. >> we didn't understand how it worked. we also didn't understand how the addiction to tobacco
smoke occurred. we now know that because of the 7,000 chemicals, that nicotine is the most dangerous of all, and the most addicting. however there are other things. things like the way it's packaged. the additives. additives particularly things like a monday ya, you add ammonia to the cigarette, the nicotine then becomes what we call free nicotine. and it can cross the blood brain barrier much faster. it gets to your brain much, much faster and we didn't know that before. and so we're, the new tobaccoes, the newer cigarettes and tobacco smoke gets to your brain much faster making it more addictive. >> let's talk a little bit about what can be done about this. there are already i guess st month new labels on cigarette packages with dire warnings, they call them death labels. we are showing one here on the screen. >> that's one of the pros pall-- proposals that the fda are looking at.
>> to make them less attractive because many of the things now are being attractive, making people want to purchase them. these labelings, we know from scientific studies that they seem, the warnings seem to cause people to not want to buy them, particularly young people who is the audience we're really after. young people starting to smoke. there are a number of things we know that work. we know when we increase the cost of cigarettes, that the use goes down. we know that when we put on media campaigns and educational campaigns that people start to understand and they smoke less. and we know that when we put smoke-free policies that those tend to work. particularly california, for example, has had the lowest running smoke-free policy. if you look at california, their rate of heart disease is less by four times any other state. >> so i mean is it your thinking and the thinking of others that you can make these labels even scarier and more ugly.
>> make them less attractive particularly to teenagers and adolescents. and make them think about it. we know that the warnings being there, when you pick it up you think twice. >> i was seeing that up until the last couple of years smoking among young people was declining. it's now leveled off. do you have an understanding of why that is. >> it's 2003, smoking has leveled off with adults and adolescents. >> declining. >> stopped declining it just leveled off. we have one in five adult smoke and one in five adolescents smoke. we do know that adolescents are much more likely to become addicted to tobacco smoke and their bodies are much more easily addicted than adults. and that may explain why every day almost a thousand adolescents will start to smoke daily.
>> so what do you believe should be done, can be done to address this. you mentioned the cost which suggests taxes. >> yeah. >> what else. >> the first thing i say is talk to your doctor because we know that people who smoke, 70% of them say they want to stop. and when they talk to their doctor we find that about 66% chance, better chance to stop smoking if they talk to their clinician. so that's the first thing. the other thing i say is we have newer tools to help you now. we have medications, prescription medicines to help. we have counselling and different ways with of counselling. we is also nicotine patches and things that are helping with cessation. we have a 1-800 quit line that people can call to help to stop smoking. we can do a number of things. >> it is fascinating information that you have brought to us. and we appreciate it.
dr. regina benjamin, the united states surgeon general. thank you. >> thank you. >> warner: finally tonight, covering the tech beat to help consumers know what's hot and what's not. jeffrey brown has our conversation. >> brown: 'tis the season, once again, for the latest tech gadgets to be bought and sold, sometimes with breathless hype of their ability to change your life and rock your world. it can be overwhelming to keep track, keep up and decide if you really need that new camera, laptop, tv or smart phone. but david pogue has been doing just that for ten years now as tech columnist for "the new york times," and he joins us now. welcome to you. >> thank you. >> brown: so, once again, here we are in the blitz of the season and everything's kind of thrown at us. broadly speaking, where's the action right now? what interests you? >> i'd say all the action these days is app phones, which i'm calling the iphone and android and the other touchscreen phones; not smart phones, which
are like phones with email, like blackberry, but app phones, you can install your own programs. in my column, i cant remember the last time i wrote about a p.c.-- you know, like the reagan administration. but it's all about app phones. i think there's a lot of buzz about e-book readers. you know, there's color ones for the first time and cheap ones for the first time. and then, the rest of the holidays will be the usual. it will be gps units and cameras and camcorders and so on. >> brown: how bout the tv as your... the tv/computer connection? >> yeah, the tv... putting the web on your tv. they seem to keep coming back to this every five years. this is something i think the industry wants more than the consumer wants. i do not kn a single person in my life who uses the web on their television set. i know they exist, don't write me the hate mail. i know you're out there, you nerds. but in general, the... >> brown: you think people want to keep these things separate, that sort of... >> well, yeah. when you watch tv, you want to turn off your brain and sit back and be entertained. when you use a computer, you use the web, you're driving the show
and you're in that active position. so, i think there's two different mental states. >> brown: now in this column you wrote, "looking back at ten years," which is quite interesting to think big things about how people relate to technology, one thing you said that you've learned is "things don't replace other things. that is, they kind of splinter or somehow coexist." but at the same time, you also wrote about how most of the things you've written about don't exist anymore. >> well, most individual products. >> brown: right. >> i mean, if you look at the thousands i've reviewed over years, individual products that were released with millions of dollars of marketing are just not there anymore. t that doesn't mean that there aren't still cameras and still music players and so on. yeah, i mean, the thing i'm used to is that people say oh this new product is "the iphone killer." "this is going to be the ipod killer." and it never happens. i mean, television was supposed to kill radio. everyone thought it would. the dvd was supposed to kill going out to the theater. none of that ever happened. >> brown: somehow, they coexist. >> things just splinter. you know, they just add on. i mean, there are certain
exceptions-- the 8-track tape, of course. but in general, new technologies just sort of pile on. everyone keeps saying, "oh, my gosh, printed books are dead." give me a break. printed books are dead? no. the e-book readers will just add on. >> brown: another thing that you write is that it's not that hard to tell the winners from the losers. now, this'll interest a lot of people, because here you are-- you have to review all of these things, right. so, you take all this in, and it's really not that hard to know what's going to win and what's going to lose? >> in most cases, it's really not that hard. i remember reviewing an e-book reader that was just terrible. and until i had time for it, i gave it to my nine-year-old daughter. and she came to me at dinner time, tossed it back and said, "dad, its horrible." she's nine! >> brown: the nine-year-old test, right? every time. >> so, yeah, i look back at the things i've given really nasty reviews to, and you don't wonder, "will this succeed in the market?" what you wonder is, "how on earth did this ever get out of the company alive?
was there nobody whoever tried turning it on? they would have known it." so it has to be an emperor's new clothes situation. >> brown: is your sense that we want technology to make our lives easier or more interesting, even if it also complicates our lives. what... what..how does it strike you and the people that you're hearing from all the time? >> there's a lot... a lot to why people buy gadgets. so, i'm not even sure if people think, "will it make my life easier or more complicated?" i think they're thinking style-- "what statement does this make about me?" one thing i've learned these ten years is that people associate so heavily with their gadgets. if you insult the gadget, you get hate mail as though you insulted them. >> brown: it's very personal, right? >> you would not believe. and the same thing in reverse. i'll praise some camera or something, ani'll get all this email saying, "i love you. you're so great the way you like this camera." i'm like, "why?" "because i bought one"!"
>> brown: it really goes to their self image, their sense of who they are? >> it is. because they're making a risk by buying it. they're paying and hoping that its the right one. so, there's some kind of psychology going on there that they get invested in its goodness. >> brown: and, of course, the marketers know that? >> oh, yeah-- apple, especially. wow. >> brown: and this notion that we were talking about earlier, the passive versus active or interactive. now, you were talking about the television and the computer and how we approach these things. but i wonder is that changing at all, when you look at touch technology or the new x-box kinect. i mean, you think about the way we interact. so it's sort of passive, but not quite as... i don't know if i'm saying it right but... i just wonder if our thinking about these... our approach to them, our connection to them is changing at all? >> well, funny you should mention touch screens and touchless manipulation. this microsoft kinect thing... >> brown: yeah, explain what that is. >> it attaches to your x-box and it lets you play games without a plastic controller in your hands. so if you want to play tennis,
you just mimic holding a paddle and you go like this and it reads where your arm is. >> brown: no remote, no instrument at all. you are the... >> that's right. "you are the remote." that's their slogan. but what's hilarious-- again, the thing i enjoy most about these ten years is learning about human nature more than tech. and human nature is to say... is to make technological leaps that aren't justified. and what i hear about the kinect is, "oh, my gosh, in five years, this is how we will interact with our computers." what, by swinging a tennis racket? what are you talking about? no. you're going to have to be able to type. you're going to have to be able to move the mouse. people said already that touchscreens would be the next big thing. when the iphone came out, they were like, "oh, put that on a computer. that's the future." can you imagine? i tried it. they came out with touchscreen laptops. so here's the keyboard, here's the screen. you're typing here and you're dragging the mouse like this. oh, my gosh, you'll be seeing a chiropractor in one day. it's a horrible experience, and meanwhile, the buttons and controls are too small, so its very fussy.
no, sorry. touch computing is... the mouse and keyboard are not going away. my reputation on television-- you're hearing it here first. >> brown: all right, last thing, how can anyone-- and you wrote about this-- how can anyone keep up with all this? what was kind of reassuring in your article, your ten year review, was even you have a hard time keeping up right? >> right. the answer is you cant keep up and i cant keep up. i read all the magazines, i go to all the trade shows, i listen to all the p.r. pitches. i do two columns every single week. and sometimes, they're columns that involve roundups of 16 different kinds of cameras or whatever. it's still impossible. i mean, you'd need a full-time staff and you'd still miss stuff. somehow, we've gotten into this cycle now where technology advances so fast, and comes out so quickly and becomes obsolete so quickly, it's out of control. it's off the tracks. >> brown: what's a person to do? >> so, what a person should do is, number one-- learn when your product is going to be obsolete.
so don't buy a iphone in june, because every july, there's going to be a new one. don't buy your ipod in august, because the new ones come out every september. cameras come out in february and october. so learn the cycle, number one. and number two is, when you buy it, know up-front, okay, i'm going to say good-bye to this money and i'm going to enjoy this camera for six months. it's still going to serve me well after, but i will no longer be on the cutting edge. and if you resign yourself to that up-front, you'll live a much happier life. >> brown: all right, tech news you can use and live by. david pogue of "the new york times." thanks very much. >> my pleasure. >> lehrer: again, the major developments of the day: house democrats balked at voting on the president's tax cut agreement with republicans, unless it's changed. senate democrats fell short in a bid to repeal the ban on gays serving openly in the military. and elections officials in haiti ordered a check of the presidential election results after violent protests over alleged fraud.
and to hari sreenivasan in our newsroom for what's on the newshour online. hari. >> sreenivasan: we have more from david pogue, who says we're still in the neanderthal era of the e-book. watch interviews with three speakers from the ted women conference held this week in washington. we look at the global climate summit in cancun, as a new report shows melting glaciers could lead to flooding in some countries. and on "art beat," we have a conversation about the poetry of liu xiaobo, the imprisoned chinese activist who will be honored tomorrow with the nobel peace prize. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. margaret. >> warner: and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm margaret warner. >> lehrer: and i'm jim lehrer. we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening with mark shields and david brooks, among others. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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